Many years ago, a very serious designer who would later serve as chair of the Harvard GSD architecture department (who at the time was president of an internationally renowned, Atlanta-based firm) stood in the AIA Board room in Washington, D.C., and announced, to the surprise of many of the corporate architects in attendance, that making money as an architect is easy. The hard part, he said, is maintaining design integrity.
Making money is easy? Who could believe such a statement? There were a number of people in the room that day, though, who nodded in agreement. As businesspeople, they were well aware of the money-making potential of meeting client demands with the talent pool at hand. To their credit, they were also concerned about maintaining high standards of design aesthetics and context.
One truism is that firms that establish long-term success blend a triad of design, technical, and business talent. But shouldn’t every architect have at least an appreciation for each?
This week’s AIArchitect features a semi-annual review of how architects can expect the commercial/industrial and institutional markets to fare over the next six months. AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA, also writes a regular feature, Work-on-the-Boards, based on primary research into firm billings and inquiries. There is also a weekly selection of Kiplinger business forecasts.
These features draw a fair number of readers. But the question is: Is this attention to business too much, too little, or just right?
What do you think?